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Tech Tools For Activism

Anonymous Blogs and Websites

"According to the statement provided to the Court on 22nd November 2010 ... Automattic Inc (WordPress) were prepared to make a 'voluntary disclosure' of the website’s creator .... [and] did not appear to question the sheer extensiveness of the UoS request for information within this 'Document request' ... this is in my opinion, a clear breach of privacy and has far reaching implications for all bloggers who have an account with WordPress." Gary Duke, University of Salford lecturer sued for libel. ttfa.net/gary

 This chapter will:

  • recommend secure blogs and websites
  • discuss the issues of anonymous blogging
  • explore different ways and tools to blog anonymously

Issues with mainstream blogging sites

Many activists and campaign groups use free blog sites such as Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. However, these sites log IP addresses that reveal users' identities, and can be required by court decisions to reveal this information. There have been cases where Wordpress.com has handed over identities of bloggers and taken down websites on request of the authorities. Fortunately, anonymous blogging is possible (see also the chapter on using VPN, Tor and other ways to browse the internet anonymously).

Use secure blogging services 

We define "secure" as not logging IP addresses or any details of those who are uploading to or viewing the site. 

Network23.org is one secure blogging service; they do not log any personal data, apart from your email address for password resets. You can sign up for an account from an independent email (see the chapter on email for more information) for complete anonymity. Other blogging services that don't log IP addresses include https://blogsport.eu and https://noblogs.org

Get more secure hosting

Wordpress is free software that you can install on your own server. If your server is configured correctly,  and you istall the remove ip module for Apache [ttfa.net/removeip],you can ensure your blogs do not capture users' personal data. Other website software such as Joomla or Drupal can also be set up in this way.

Tachana.org offer secure privacy-concious website hosting to radical and grassroots groups internationally. ox4.org was set up by activists in the Oxford area who "like doing activism, supporting activism infrastructure, and techie stuff". Their level of security is not as high as Tachanka.

Wordpress Networks

If you want to set up your own anonymous blogging service, a Wordpress Network is a good way to save time and effort. This is a multi-user set-up which reduces the site administrators' workload: when you update the code for the main site, all subsites are also updated. 

The process of using a Wordpress network blog is nearly identical to a normal Wordpress blog. There is a basic help guide on the FlossManuals site: ttfa.net/flosswp

What Next?

  • sign up for a free secure blog or website at Network23.org
  • encourage people and groups to move insecure blogs to better hosting
  • work with trusted friends to set up your own anonymous blogging service (if you're a bit techie)
  • install the remove ip module on your server

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